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  • Question About Perceptions

    Posted by David Barry on February 22, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    I have a friend (let’s call her A) who is a very nice person in general but is having problems with her sister-in-law (let’s call her B). This has the potential of not only damaging her own married life as well as her relationship with her in laws. The relationship between A and B was very good for the first 5-6 years, but took a downward turn despite no big fights or anything like that.

    A now insists that B has given her attitude on several occasions . Some of her complains have been as follows:

    1. She came down to the kitchen one time and asked B if she needed any help, but B didn’t answer her properly and said “hmmm”. A says this was a cold shoulder attitude.

    2. One time, A’s 2-year old son came out of the kitchen crying, and A says that it must have been due to B pinching her, though the son never said anything like that. B says he was touching the oven and she told him not to, but A insists that B must have pinched him or something. Mind you that the son has always been loved by B and he is also very fond of her to this day ( he is 11 now), and there have been no other such incidents.

    3. One time when B and her husband were visiting A, they brought a dress for A. B asked A to try it and see if it fits and if it doesn’t, then B would get ur changed. A says that when she tried the dress, she didn’t think it was too tight, but then B insisted that it didn’t look right and that she would get ur changed. B then took the dress, and didn’t get a replacement until several months later. However, A didn’t like the replacement dress and says it was of cheap quality. A insists that B must have taken her first dress because she was doing some magic/ totka with it. It is important to note that A lives in AB’s house for almost 2 years before that and there were also frequent visits between the two where if such a thing were the intention of B, she has plenty of chances before and after that as well.

    4. A and B have the same mother in law, and the mother in law moved between the two houses every few months. Once when the mother in law was living with A, and B was also in the house, there was talk of the mother in law going to live with B’s family. A says that when this talk was taking place, B was climbing the stairs to go upstairs, but when she heard this talk she stopped in the middle of the stairs to listen. A says that the stairs were hidden and so she only heard B’s climbing steps stop. A says this is because B didn’t want the mother in law to go to her house. This despite the fact that the mother in law has lived very happily at B’s place and is very fond of her and when she is there B takes very good care of her so that the mother in law is always praising her as her “daughter” and not just daughter in law.

    5. B’s brother get engaged to some girl who used to live in Saudi Arabia. One day while chatting casually in the kitchen about this engagement, B mentioned casually that her uncle used to live in Saudi many years ago and if he had still been there they could find out about the girls family. A didn’t say anything about it at that time. Then a few weeks later B called A as she had found a common friend between herself and A’s brother’s fiancé’s mother on Facebook. She just mentioned it to A and asked her if this person is indeed the finances mother. A stayed quiet and later said that B was snooping around and stalking – and that she suspected that B wanted her own daughter to get married to A’s brother. A mentioned this and the above grievances to her brother who immediately blocked B from Facebook. B later said that she was just asking as any concerned sister would ask about her brother. Both B and her husband were quite hurt by this allegation and action, but ignored it and kept meeting A cordially.

    6. In 2015 when A and her husband were living with B and her husband (A’s and B’s husbands are brothers) in the UK, A and her husband and son went to visit Pakistan for 3 months. A’s son used to have a very favourite stuffed fish toy that he used to sleep with often. A says that she put the fish in the top shelf of her room’s closet before leaving for Pakistan. She says that when she returned she couldn’t find the fish and asked B about it but B said that she didn’t know anything about that. A didn’t think much about it. Then A and her family moved to another city. A few months later B and her family also moved to another house. In 2018 when A and family was visiting B’s house, A happened to go to their store room which still had some unpacked stuff. She says that she saw the stuffed fish with other stuffed tours ( that belonged to B’s daughter who was 22 at that time and was 19 in 2015). A claims that the mother and daughter must have collaborated to steal the stuffed toy . The fact is that neither B nor his daughter have any such history in the past either with A’s son or with anyone else and they enjoy a very good reputation throughout the family. But A is insistent on this interpretation.

    Please advise if this is really concrete evidence against theft and if all the perceptions of A are right!

    Dr. Irfan Shahzad replied 6 months, 2 weeks ago 2 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Question About Perceptions

  • Dr. Irfan Shahzad

    Scholar February 22, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Such attitudes and misperceptions are, unfortunately, common in our society which leave no room for common ethics let alone Islamic ethics. Honor is as sacred as life, we care about life but honor. To put blame on someone is a grave act, which needs concrete evidence which can be presented to a court, otherwise, the one accuses is guilty of slandering.

    What is evident from your post is that it is a matter of misperception, which falls in the category of Soo-e- Zann. and God has forbidden to think ill of them. God says:

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

    Believers! Refrain from too much conjecture because some conjectures are pure sins. And do not spy [on others and do not indulge in backbiting one another. Is there anyone among you who would like to eat the meat of his dead brother? So, you do not tolerate this; [then why should backbiting be tolerated! Fear God. God surely is quick in accepting repentance, Ever-Merciful.

    It is better to give a break, take time to reconsider, and contemplate the real motives of hatred or repulsion. One should fear God for damaging the reputation of others without concrete proof, such acts will not go unchecked. one has to be answerable to God for slandering.

  • David Barry

    Member February 24, 2023 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for the reply.

    Are there specific indications in these incidents that convinced you that this were a case of misperceptions, and beyond that, of slander?

  • Dr. Irfan Shahzad

    Scholar February 26, 2023 at 1:56 am

    In principle, concrete evidence or observation is required to blame someone theif. It is something big. without concrete evidence or observation, the accuser is not only subject to punishment in the court here, but also in the court of God.

  • David Barry

    Member March 20, 2023 at 4:17 am

    Dear Dr. Shahzad,

    Thank you so much for your replies. I have two more follow up questions:

    1. The things you have pointed out in your reply are similar to the things that A’s husband has also pointed out to her. However, when he mentions these things she gets angry with him and starts accusing him of not believing her and not being a supportive husband. So, I wanted to ask you to please enlighten as to whether A’s husband is wrong, and should he be standing with his wife rather than pointing out these mistakes in her thinking?

    2. A insists that her sixth sense is very sharp and that she can feel what the other person’s intentions are. She claims that Allah shows her these things about other people. For example, she says that it was Allah who showed her the “stolen” stuffed fish. Please advise what Islam says about sixth sense and whether A’s contention about this is right or wrong.


  • Dr. Irfan Shahzad

    Scholar March 20, 2023 at 6:57 am

    It seems she needs psychotherapy. Her husband has to show patience and persuade her to get treatment.

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